They’re protesting policies requiring them to be “politically neutral” at school.
NEW YORK – The teachers’ union for the nation’s largest public school system accused the city on Friday of banning political campaign buttons and sued to reverse the policy, declaring that free speech rights were violated.
United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten announced at a news conference that a lawsuit had been filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to challenge the enforcement of the policy.
“We couldn’t believe it,” said Weingarten, who wore a Barack Obama lapel button. The American Federation of Teachers, including its UFT delegates, voted over the summer to endorse Obama’s presidential candidacy.
A ban on campaigning or expressions of political support for a candidate or political party or even an issue seems appropriate to me. Public schools are, after all, public. Parents don’t send their children to school to be indoctrinated politically, though that’s clearly what a lot of these teachers want. They send their children to school to learn things like mathematics, science, reading and writing.
Free speech rights are not absolute. Most of us realize that when you’re working for someone else you don’t necessarily have the right to say whatever you want and stay employed. Maybe some employers allow their employees to talk politics on the job, but most employers would rather stay politically neutral and reserve the politics for everyone’s personal time.
Again, this is perfectly reasonable. But then, there’s nothing reasonable about the teacher’s unions.